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Lawmaker, Brother to Scale Peruvian Mountain for Charity

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- A Utah lawmaker and his brother plan to scale a 22,132-foot peak in Peru to raise funds for a nonprofit group working to fight kidney disease.

Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem and his brother Nord Sandstrom, of Littleton, Colo., hope to generate $12,000 for the education and prevention programs of Kidney TRUST by reaching the peak of Huascaran Sur, the lawmaker said.

"It's an honor to help raise funds for kidney disease awareness and prevention while putting my body through an ultimate adventure challenge," said Stephen Sandstrom said.

The climb is expected to take five days. Huascaran Sur is the highest summit in Peru.

The difficulty of the climb is compounded by below-zero temperatures, weather conditions that can quickly change and the possibility of avalanches. An ice field at 18,000 feet known as the Garganta also presents a significant risk, Stephen Sandstrom said.

Once on top, the Sandstrom expedition plans a short celebration before heading down.

"The thing to remember, is when you get to the summit, you're only halfway done with the climb," Stephen Sandstrom said.

This won't be the first climb for the brothers. In 2006 their ascent of three peaks in Equador raised $8,000.

An architect serving his first term in the Utah House, Stephen Sandstrom said he was criticized for the 2006 climb because it took him away from work and home. The lawmaker said helping a charitable cause make the trips worthwhile.

Information from the TRUST states that 20 million American adults live with chronic kidney disease and another 320,000 suffer from kidney failures that require regular dialysis treatments.

Nord Sandstrom works for DaVita Inc., a provider of kidney dialysis, according to biographical information posted on the TRUST's web site. DaVita Inc. founded the Kidney TRUST in 2006, the web site states.

One hundred 100 percent of donations raised by the climb will be donated to the TRUST and will fund dialysis treatments for those that can't afford them, Stephen Sandstrom said. The brothers are paying for their travel, gear and other expenses, he said.


Information from: The Daily Herald

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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